Repsol Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa made a slow start to this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix, ending the first day of practice just eleventh and twelfth fastest.

Hayden is making his return following a foot injury sustained in a Supermoto incident at the Los Angeles X Games on August 1. The American cracked two bones in his right heel and is still walking with the aid of a walking stick or crutches because the less weight he puts on the foot, the quicker the bones will heal.

"Things went pretty decent, considering," declared Nicky. "Not fantastic or nothing, but the bike was working pretty good, the tyres were working a lot better than they have the last couple of weeks, so a big thanks to Michelin for doing a good job here.

"It's not the most pleasant ride of my life, but I expected that. In some of the right-hand corners I'm probably not as quick as I should be, but in T2 and T4 which are pretty much all left-hand corners I'm one of the quickest.

"In some of the rights the injury is a little bit of a hindrance, but it's not a big deal. I don't want to be a drama queen and make a big deal of it, I'm not the first guy who's ridden injured. It's just the way it is and the main thing is that it's good to be back.

"I crashed in the last left [at the end of the afternoon], it was an easy little crash, I just held my foot up so it didn't touch the ground. I was pushing hard, it was my best lap so far, I just hit a bump and lost the front. I've been pushing the front a bit most of the day, so I wasn't really shocked by it."

Meanwhile, team-mate Pedrosa might regret a decision to quit the post-race Brno test after just eleven laps.

Pedrosa, furious with Michelin after an 'impotent' 15th place finish in the Czech Republic Grand Prix, halted the planned two-day test after feeling no benefit from some revised tyres.

But the majority of his Michelin colleagues persevered to at least provide the French brand with valuable data and feedback - which many seemed to benefit from during day one at Misano, when Michelin placed four riders inside the top ten.

But Pedrosa wasn't one of them; the double 2008 race winner being left 1.4secs from fastest man Casey Stoner and only the sixth quickest Michelin rider.

"It's been a difficult but important day," declared Dani. "We're not happy with the result but I am happy because we are working to get me back into my rhythm which I had lost after missing Laguna, doing no real training in the summer break and then having lots of problems at Brno.

"We had a long debrief at the end of today, analysing all the data, and for sure we can improve our lap times tomorrow. Conditions here are quite extreme, it's very hot. We have been testing some new tyres and we still have more to test tomorrow, when we will see what kind of shape we'll be in for the race. We will keep working hard.

"Qualifying will be extra important because the first corner is so close to the grid and tricky too. Last year another rider took me out at the first corner and I want to avoid any problems there on Sunday, so I want to get the best grid position possible. I am feeling positive that I can regain my usual rhythm," he added.


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